Middle-market firms in the spotlight at EM Strasbourg conference

Façade bâtiment EM Strasbourg

As part of the ADIRA/EM Strasbourg conference series on companies in transformation, a conference on middle-market firms was held on April 11, 2024, at EM Strasbourg addressing the regional strategy of middle-market firms, their innovative and participative strategies, and managerial dynamics.


An exchange of views between middle-market firm managers and faculty

The conference was structured around a dual perspective, with testimonials from the heads of industrial middle-market firms on the one hand and the views of EM Strasbourg's faculty on the other. 
On the industrial side, two leading experts shared their expertise and, above all, their passion for managing this unique company category:

  • Laurent Meykuchel, CEO of Axima Sécurité Incendie (700 employees, €140M in turnover)

  • Fabrice Urban, CEO of Quiri (140 employees in France, 420 worldwide, €40M in turnover) and President of the Union des Industries et Métiers de la Métallurgie Alsace (UIMM Alsace). 

The academic perspective was provided by two EM Strasbourg faculty members:

  • Prof. Thierry Nobre
  • Assoc. Prof. Didier Grandclaude, conference designer and moderator 


Managerial dynamics in middle-market firms

The testimonials of Laurent Meykuchel and Fabrice Urban shed light on the managerial specificities of middle-market firms, namely five key points:  

  • Their values

  • CEO vision and development strategy

  • The role of entrepreneurship and innovation

  • The digital and environmental transformation

  • Talent recruitment and retention


Candid, concrete, and personal, their speeches won over an audience made up mainly of company directors, academics, and students. The frankness of the two executives and their willingness to share the highlights of their entrepreneurial adventures in all transparency helped to develop knowledge of what an industrial middle-market firm can be and what it can do. What's more, the testimonials opened up perspectives on deeper issues, such as the need to face uncertainty and its various forms of anxiety, both environmental and technological, which were debated during the question-and-answer sessions open to the public. 


An innovative and participative strategy in middle-market firms: Axima Sécurité Incendie's open strategy approach 

To introduce the second theme, innovative and participative strategy in middle-market firms, Didier Grandclaude first outlined the theoretical contours of the concept of open strategy, which aims, on the one hand, to include a greater number of participants in strategic thinking, and, on the other, to increase transparency in the communication of strategy. Thierry Nobre then went on to show how Axima Sécurité Incendie implemented an open strategy approach, driven by Laurent Meykuchel.  The two researchers were able to guide Laurent Meykuchel and around a hundred Axima Sécurité Incendie employees in an innovative, participative, and rather unusual process: collectively writing the company's strategic roadmap. At the conference, Thierry Nobre emphasized each methodological stage of the project, highlighting the key points of the approach: a hundred 1.5-hour interviews with employees from all walks of life to draw up the company's strategic diagnosis, followed by meetings to provide feedback, discuss strategic decisions, analyze market and competitive trends, etc. Throughout Thierry Nobre's presentation, Laurent Meykuchel provided his own executive viewpoint, highlighting the benefits and difficulties of such an approach, which has already been successfully implemented at Axima Réfrigération. The conference concluded with an open question-and-answer session for the audience, which was clearly captivated by the enthusiastic speeches of the two Alsatian managers. 

This first conference on middle-market firms is part of EM Strasbourg's strategic initiative to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation in our ecosystem. It underscores the School's determination to contribute, alongside all local players, to the development and support of middle-market firms in its ecosystem.  

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